1

If you’ve never smoked, you don’t need to worry about lung cancer.

The Correct Answer is False.

It’s true that smoking is by far the leading risk factor for lung cancer. But you don’t have to smoke to get lung cancer. More than 40,000 cases of lung cancer are diagnosed each year in non-smokers. These can be caused by exposure to radon, secondhand smoke, air pollution, and exposure to certain cancer-causing agents at work.

Breathing in the smoke of others (called secondhand smoke or environmental tobacco smoke) increases a non-smoker’s risk of developing lung cancer. In fact, secondhand smoke is thought to cause more than 3,000 deaths from lung cancer each year.

Non-smokers who breathe in secondhand smoke take in nicotine and cancer-causing chemicals by the same route smokers do. The more secondhand smoke you breathe, the higher the level of these harmful chemicals in your body. In fact, a non-smoker who lives with a smoker has about a 20% to 30% greater risk of developing lung cancer.

2

There’s nothing people can do to decrease their chances of getting lung cancer.

The Correct Answer is False.

Smokers can quit, which lowers their chances of getting lung cancer. Quitting tobacco is the single most important thing anyone can do to decrease their lung cancer risk.

Smokers should also be aware of the symptoms of lung cancer, such as chest pain, weakness, and shortness of breath, and see a doctor if they notice changes like these.

Non-smokers can take precautions, too. Limiting exposure to secondhand smoke is easier than ever before thanks to local, state, and federal laws. It’s also important to find out if radon is a problem in your home. Workplace exposures to things known to be linked to lung cancer, like asbestos, radioactive ores, certain chemicals, and diesel exhaust should also be limited. Protect yourself – and your lungs – whenever possible.

3

The lung damage that leads to cancer can be repaired by quitting smoking.

The Correct Answer is True.

Over time, there are many benefits to quitting smoking, here are a few examples:

  • 2 weeks to 3 months after quitting your circulation improves and your lung function increases.
  • 1 to 9 months after quitting coughing and shortness of breath decrease.
  • 10 years after quitting the risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a person who is still smoking.

Quitting while you are younger will reduce your health risks more, but quitting at any age can give back years of life that would be lost by continuing to smoke.

4

Replacing cigarettes with spit tobacco or snuff is a safe way to decrease lung cancer risk.

The Correct Answer is False.

Tobacco that’s put in the mouth, such as spit, oral, smokeless, chewing, and snuff tobacco is less lethal than smoking tobacco and not linked to lung cancer – but less lethal is a far cry from safe.

People who use spit and other types of smokeless tobacco greatly increase their risk of other cancers, including those of the mouth, throatesophagus (the swallowing tube that connects the mouth and the stomach), stomach, andpancreas.

All forms of tobacco are hazardous to your health.

5

Lung cancer is one of the deadliest cancers.

The Correct Answer is True.

Lung cancer is by far the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women. Each year, more people in the US die of lung cancer than of colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined.

6

Lung cancer often doesn’t cause problems until it’s too late to cure it.

The Correct Answer is True.

Most lung cancers do not cause symptoms until they have spread too far to be cured. But symptoms do occur in some people with early lung cancer. Some of the most common symptoms of lung cancer are:

  • A cough that does not go away or gets worse
  • Chest pain that is often worse with deep breathing, coughing, or laughing
  • Weight loss and loss of appetite
  • Coughing up blood or rust-colored sputum (spit or phlegm)
  • Infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia that don’t go away or keep coming back

If you go to a doctor when you first notice symptoms, the cancer might be diagnosed at an earlier stage, when treatment works best.

Both current and ex-smokers can get screened for lung cancer, too. Screening gives you a chance to find lung cancer early – when it’s small and easier to treat. Lung cancer screening doesn’t decrease the chance of getting lung cancer, but it can help lower the risk of dying from this disease.

Lung cancer screening isn’t for everyone. Patients who meet ALL of the following criteria may be candidates for lung cancer screening:

  • 55 to 74 years old
  • In fairly good health
  • Have at least a 30 pack-year smoking history
  • Are either still smoking or have quit smoking within the last 15 years

[Regarding at least a 30 pack-year history of smoking: A pack-year is the number of cigarette packs smoked each day multiplied by the number of years a person has smoked. Someone who smoked a pack of cigarettes per day for 30 years has a 30 pack-year smoking history, as does someone who smoked 2 packs a day for 15 years.]

Talk to a doctor to find out if lung cancer screening is right for you.

You answered out of 6 correctly.

We can help you learn the facts!

There’s more you need to know about lung cancer and tobacco. Check out our lung cancer section to learn more about lung cancer, screening for it, and what you can do to stay as healthy as possible. Our “Stay Away from Tobacco” section can give you everything from quitting advice, to facts and stats about many different forms of tobacco.

You answered out of 6 correctly.

Good job!

You’ve made a great start, but there are still some myths clouding your knowledge, and some facts you may not be aware of. Check the links in the answers you got wrong – they can take you right to the information you need. Check out our lung cancer section to learn more about lung cancer, screening for it, and what you can do to stay as healthy as possible. Our “Stay Away from Tobacco” section can give you everything from quitting advice, to facts and stats about many different forms of tobacco.

You answered out of 6 correctly.

You have a strong understanding of lung cancer!

Congratulations! There’s always more to learn, so go to our lung cancer section to find out more about lung cancer, screening for it, and what you can do to stay as healthy as possible. You can also learn more about the dangers of tobacco and secondhand smoke, and find quit support in our “Stay Away from Tobacco” section.